Asia markets mixed ahead of Fed rate decision; Australia inflation figures

Asian markets are mixed as investors brace for the Fed's rate decision on Wednesday. Many expect the Fed to raise rates by 25 basis points.

Asia markets mixed ahead of Fed rate decision; Australia inflation figures

The markets are pricing an absolute certainty that Fed will approve a quarter-point hike, which will bring its benchmark borrowing rate up to a range of 5,25-5.5%. The Bank of Australia opened up 0.1% ahead of the June inflation figures. He advised investors to "remain fully invested" and listed stocks to purchase.

Wall Street Bank said that the two companies have lower debt financing costs than their peers, and they operate in a market which is 27% less expensive than their Chinese counterparts.

-- Ganesh Rao

Earnings scorecard

So far this earnings season about a fourth of companies in the
S&P 500
have reported second-quarter results. Of the firms that have reported, 76% have topped earnings expectations while 62% have beaten revenue estimates, according to Refinitiv.

According to the blended growth rate, which includes companies that have reported and have yet to share results, earnings are expected to fall 7.7% from a year ago. The energy sector is expected to see the largest decline.

-- Samantha Subin

GE rallies to 6-year high, outperforming tech stocks in 2023

General Electric
-- the industrial behemoth whose origins date back to the founding of Edison Electric Light Company in 1878 by Thomas Alva Edison -- rose as much as 6.9% on Tuesday
following better-than-expected second-quarter earnings.

As a result, GE pulled farther ahead of the tech stocks it has been outperforming so far in 2023.

GE shares are up 72.4% this year compared to 53.8% for
, 49.1% for
, 45.7% for the S&P 500 Information Technology Index, 45.5% for
and 37.8% for Google-parent

"Roughly six months from now, GE will be spinning off its Power/Renewables from its Aerospace unit and today's Q2 update confirms that both businesses are purring as the split approaches," analysts at Gordon Haskett wrote early Tuesday. "It looks to us like GE Vernova, which is the name of the power business, is flying into the upcoming separation with momentum. Case in point, Renewable Energy orders in Q2 topped $8bn and sales were up 24%. On the other side of Vernova, margins in 'Power' were up 150 bps and orders were up a respectable seven percent. Meanwhile the aerospace business is white-hot right now and when you add it all up, you have a company that has capitalized on an EPS beat by raising its sales, cash flow and EPS outlook for the year."

-- Scott Schnipper, Michael Bloom

IMF raises global growth forecast despite China's recovery 'losing steam'

The International Monetary Fund on Tuesday
raised its growth forecast for the global economy,
turning slightly more positive despite slowing momentum from China.

In the latest update to its World Economic Outlook, the IMF raised its 2023 global growth prediction by 0.2 percentage points to 3%, up from 2.8% at its April assessment. The IMF kept is 2024 growth forecast unchanged at 3%.

In terms of inflation, the Fund also expects an improvement from last year. Headline inflation is projected to reach 6.8% this year, falling from 8.7% in 2022. However, core inflation, which strips out volatile items, is seen declining more slowly to 6% this year, from 6.5% last year.

-- Silvia Amaro

Consumer sentiment reading hits two-year high in July

Consumer sentiment hit its highest level since July 2021, though the reading was a little shy of Wall Street expectations,
The Conference Board reported

The board's Consumer Confidence Index hit 117 in July, up from 110.1 in June and good for a two-year high. However, it was below the 112 estimate from Dow Jones.

Also, the expectations index jumped to 88.3, up from a reading of 80 in June that is also the dividing line for a recession outlook. The "jobs plentiful" index rose, while the current conditions index pulled back slightly.

Even with the improvement in sentiment and outlook, the perceived likelihood of a recession in the next 12 months edged up to 70.6%.

--Jeff Cox